Vice President Joe Biden spoke in front of one of the largest gatherings of cancer doctors and healthcare executives in the world and asked for their help on Monday.
“To succeed, I desperately need help,” he told attendees of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual conference.
Biden and the White House launched a cancer “moonshot” initiative in January, and he’s spent the past few months compiling ideas and meeting with leaders in research and healthcare as he zeroes in on what the initiative will actually try and achieve.
The moonshot’s overarching objective is to “to eliminate cancer as we know it,” by fostering research, early detection, and access to treatment, according to the White House. Biden said in his speech that he’s received a lot of interest around the world and from both sides of the aisle for the moonshot.
“This is the only bipartisan thing left in America right now. You think I’m kidding,” Biden said.
In his remarks, the vice president highlighted the importance of data in cancer research. With new combinations of medicine and more precise medicines popping up for cancer treatment, huge amounts of data are necessary to figure out what works for who and what doesn’t. That, he said, will also require a major shift in how clinical trials, which vet experimental drugs to see how well they work, are run.
“There’s gotta be a better way, and it’s got to come from you guys,” he said. “We can’t legislate it for you. You know it’s true. We can do much better than we’re doing.”
Biden made that a priority in his speech as well, calling on researchers across the board to share data.
“No single oncologist can find the answer on his or her own,” he said.
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